Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls for climate action at Arctic Circle assembly

Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at the Arctic Circle assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)
This is the war we must wage and win, says former U.S. Secretary of State as he encourages everyone, from politicians and generals to activists and influencers around the world to join.

John Kerry’s speech at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik, Iceland this weekend was followed by loud and long lasting applause from the audience of Arctic stakeholders from around the globe.

The fast-escalating climate crisis has never been worded in such dramatic tone as at this year’s assembly in the Icelandic capital.

Scientist after scientist entered the stage with facts and scenarios, which in sum painted a picture of a word heading towards Ragnarök, the old Nordic mythology’s destruction of the world.

We are moving towards the tipping points of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the Atlantic Ocean circulation. The permafrost in the circumpolar north is about to melt, likely to cause even greater releases of methane. While CO2 is described as having a warming effect akin to wrapping the planet in a sheet, methane released from the Arctic permafrost is more like wrapping the planet in a wool blanket.

Iceland’s glaciers are melting due to climate change. (Thomas Nilsen/The Independent Barents Observer)

John Kerry (75) gave a stern warning about demagoguery and denial of the climate crisis and the lack of political leadership. As Secretary of State under the Obama administration, Kerry was key to the landmark Paris Climate Agreement, an accord current president Donald Trump is working hard to dismantle.

In Reykjavik, Kerry was given the Arctic Circle’s award by former Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson for his leadership on climate change.

“World War Zero”

Launching the new global movement, the former Secretary of State says it will unite unlikely allies and bring together powerful influencers. One already on the team is actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

John Kerry said in his speech that climate change should be THE voting issue in the United States, a country that saw 19% turnout among young voters in the 2016 presidential election.

He also called on politicians to take the right energy decisions. There is no lack of solutions or technology, only failure of governance in the energy policy, Kerry said.

“No banks in America will finance a new coal-power plant today,” John Kerry said pointing to the fact that jobs of the future will come in renewable energy.

Climate deniers have declared war on science facts, and then we must declare war on those who oppose facts, Kerry explained.

“With you, World War Zero is winnable, a statement on the newly created portal of the movement reads and elaborates why people should sign up: “To win the future we all deserve, and triumph over today’s axis of opposition: delay, denial, and distortion.”

Will John Kerry then become for the elderly generation, what Greta Thunberg is for the youngsters? Likely not. According to information given to the Barents Observer, the former Secretary of State was flying in to Iceland in a private jet.

In the video below, you can see the entire speech by John Kerry.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s Arctic, boreal birds will be big climate change losers, CBC News

Finland: Finnish EU presidency to work on stronger Arctic policy, climate change mitigation, Yle News

Iceland: EU calls for introduction of new Arctic governance structure, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Climate change is about to divide Norway’s largest Arctic island, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Climate change threatens security and industry, Russian PM says, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden’s FM calls for more EU involvement in Arctic as country hosts EU Arctic Forum, Radio Sweden

United States: Heat stress that caused Alaska salmon deaths a sign of things to come, scientist warns, CBC News

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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